Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting

No. 529
14.06.2022

    The imposition of restrictive measures against St Petersburg University and the Rector of St Petersburg University

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has signed a decree imposing sanctions on 236 Russian universities and 261 rectors, including St Petersburg University and its Rector Nikolay Kropachev. The sanctions imply an end to cultural exchanges, scientific cooperation, and educational and sporting contacts.

    The assets of Russian universities and rectors subject to sanctions will be frozen in Ukraine. The fulfilment of financial obligations will be suspended, and state awards of Ukraine will be withdrawn. There is also a ban on acquiring property and land and other restrictions.

    St Petersburg University and other Russian universities have been banned from: cooperating with scientific, educational and other institutions in Ukraine; and conducting educational, cultural, scientific and sports exchanges.

    It was noted at the meeting that St Petersburg University is establishing cooperation with the universities of the Lugansk People’s Republic and the Donetsk People’s Republic (Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 6 June 2022). It will develop relations with the universities of Kharkov and other liberated regions of Ukraine.

    St Petersburg University is ranked second among Russian universities delivering a high-quality education

    According to the Ranking RAEX-100 (Ranking RAEX-100), St Petersburg University has become the second Russian university that created the best conditions for delivering a high-quality education, second only to Lomonosov Moscow State University. St Petersburg University also took third place among the leading universities in the country and became the only university in St Petersburg that entered the top three in the ranking.

    This year, the list of the top universities in Russia includes universities from 31 regions of the country. The ranked list was prepared using the statistics and the results of surveys of over 85000 people, including representatives of the academic and research communities, students, alumni and employers.

    As part of the RAEX-100 Ranking, universities are evaluated according to 43 indicators that measure three areas of university activity: conditions for receiving a quality education; employer demand for graduates; and scientific productivity. Assessing the employer demand for graduates, experts analyse the university’s cooperation with employers and the graduate’s employment prospects. The scientific productivity of universities is determined by assessing the research potential of the organisation, the number of scientific achievements and the quality of the research infrastructure.

    The RAEX Russian Universities Ranking has been published annually for the past ten years and assesses the ability of universities to provide graduates with high quality knowledge and professional skills. The RAEX Russian Universities Ranking has successfully passed the international audit by International Ranking Expert Group (IREG) Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence (IREG Observatory), an international institutional non-profit association of ranking organisations, universities and other bodies interested in university rankings and academic excellence.

    To form the list of the 100 top universities in Russia, the compilers use: statistics from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation; open data from the websites of universities; and surveys of representatives of universities and online surveys of target groups: students, graduates, representatives of the academic and research communities, and employers.

    When assessing the quality of education, experts take into account the quality of teaching at the university, the resource base, and applicant demand for the university. This year, St Petersburg University has significantly improved its performance by these criteria and has taken second place among the best universities in the country by this indicator.

    Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process

    Over the past week, the Virtual Reception received five enquiries addressed to the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities. Additionally, nine enquiries were registered in the student enquiry register. The enquiries were on various topics, including: holding final assessment tests; the food allowance to be paid for students during their internships at the teaching and research centres of St Petersburg University.

    According to Acting Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities Svetlana Begeza, since 24 February, 143 requests to be transferred to St Petersburg University from a foreign university have been received. Additionally, two requests were registered last week. The University systematically works with applicants in this area. According to Regulation № 434 dated 21 March 2022 of the Government of the Russian Federation and Letter MN-5/927-DA dated 1 March 2022 of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation: St Petersburg University accepts transfer requests from the citizens of Ukraine, the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic and Russian citizens who had to leave the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and Ukraine and arrive in Russia, as well as the Russian citizens expressing the desire to transfer from international educational organisations in the states included into the list of non-friendly states established by Regulation № 430-r of the Government of the Russian Federation. As of today, orders have been issued to enrol 28 students as an academic transfer from a foreign educational organisation. Fifteen students were enrolled on a government-funded basis, while 13 students were enrolled on a fee-paying basis. Four students have been allowed to attend classes during the transfer period. Planned work is underway with other applicants.

    According to information from the heads of most academic and research subdivisions, the interim assessment is held according to the timetable in the prescribed manner.

    Meetings with students (representatives of student councils, student scientific societies, and group heads) were not held by some heads over the past week. However, such meetings were held in other academic and research subdivisions.

    During the reporting period, student representatives met with the heads of the Institute of Chemistry, the Faculty of Economics, and the Faculty of Foreign Languages.

    On 8 June, the Senior Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Arts met with representatives of the Student Council and the heads of the degree programmes. Among other issues, the organisation of the current interim assessment was discussed.

    On 8 June, the Acting Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Physics held a meeting with student representatives. On 9 June, the Dean of the Faculty of Applied Mathematics and Control Processes met with the Chair of the Student Council and group heads. The issues in organising the teaching and learning process were discussed. It was decided to continue the interaction with the student activists in the established format: students should inform the heads of the faculties in a timely manner about the issues that arise.

    According to the Dean of the School of International Relations, a visiting session for representatives of the student council, student scientific societies and group heads was organised at the Interparliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States (IPA CIS). During the reporting period, the dean has received appeals from students about: welfare support (the appeal has been sent to the Department for Youth Affairs to organise welfare support); the format of study for an international student in the new academic year (it has been explained that all classes are planned to be delivered in the classroom, the issue of distance learning will be considered individually on the basis of the application to the head of the academic department); and changing the grade for the exam (the answer has been given in accordance with the University by-laws).

    A meeting was held with representatives of the student council with the Deputy Dean for Youth Policy at the Mathematics and Mechanics Faculty; and the Dean of the Faculty of Sociology with a member of the student council, and heads of academic groups. The issues of the interim assessment were discussed.

    Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process were discussed at the meetings with representatives of student councils and heads of academic groups and heads of the Faculty of Philology, the Institute of History, and the Institute of Earth Sciences (the minutes of the meetings were not formalised and not submitted for publication).

    The Director of the College of Physical Training and Sports, Economics and Technology at a meeting with the student activists discussed: the preparation for interim assessment; the organisation of summer internships; student participation in the contest for a scholarship of the Government of St Petersburg; and the participation of students in the monitoring of health (the minutes of the meeting were not formalised and not submitted for publication).

    From 4 to 10 June, 1,159 students in bachelor’s, specialist’s and master’s programmes had their graduation project defences.

    Field of study

    Bachelor’s programme

    Master’s programme

    Specialist’s programme

    Total

    1

    Biology

    35

    61

     

    96

    2

    Asian and African Studies

     

    38

     

    38

    3

    Journalism and Mass Communication

     

    56

     

    56

    4

    Earth Sciences

    66

    42

     

    108

    5

    History

    46

    17

     

    63

    6

    Arts

    24

    3

     

    27

    7

    Arts and Humanities

    111

       

    111

    8

    Cognitive Studies

     

    4

     

    4

    9

    Mathematics and Mechanics

    35

    21

    8

    64

    10

    Mathematics and Computer Science

    1

       

    11

    11

    Applied Mathematics and Control Processes

    19

    10

     

    29

    12

    Political Science

    25

       

    25

    13

    Psychology

    16

    61

    10

    87

    14

    Dental Medicine and Medical Technologies

       

    17

    17

    15

    Sociology

    40

    16

     

    56

    16

    Physics

    51

    43

     

    94

    17

    Philology

    37

    174

     

    211

    18

    Philosophy

    19

    33

     

    52

    19

    Chemistry

    20

       

    20

     

    Total

    545

    579

    35

    1159

    The meetings of 209 State Assessment Committees took place:

    Field of study

    Number of State Assessment Committees

    1

    Biology

    15

    2

    Asian and African Studies

    6

    3

    Journalism and Mass Communication

    6

    4

    Earth Sciences

    14

    5

    History

    13

    6

    Arts

    5

    7

    Arts and Humanities

    14

    8

    Cognitive Studies

    1

    9

    Mathematics and Mechanics

    18

    10

    Applied Mathematics and Control Processes

    9

    11

    Political Science

    4

    12

    Psychology

    24

    13

    Sociology

    9

    14

    Physics

    27

    15

    Philology

    29

    16

    Philosophy

    11

    17

    Chemistry

    4

     

    Total

    209

    From 1,150 graduation project defences, 907 people (78.3%) were graded as "excellent", 223 people (19.2%) — "good", 35 people (3%) — "satisfactory", and four people (0.4%) — "unsatisfactory".

    From 4 to 10 June 2022, state exams were held for:

    • bachelor’s students in the areas of study: Asian and African Studies; Law 
    • specialist’s students in Medicine

    Following the results of the final state examinations, four bachelor’s students in Law filed enquiries to the appeal committees.

    Encryption of papers during the interim assessment introduced

    Taking into account the speech of Irina Novikova, Dean of the School of International Relations, at the Rector’s meeting on 7 February 2022, the Rector of St Petersburg University gave a task to the directors and deans of academic and research subdivisions to consider introducing encryption of students’ papers during the interim assessment at the meetings with the student councils.

    Svetlana Begeza, Acting Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities, said that this decision had been preceded by the following situation: a second-year student of a master’s programme in International Relations turned to the Virtual Reception at St Petersburg University with a request to reconsider the results of the examination in an academic discipline and give an assessment to the actions of the teacher, who, according to the student, "missed classes", gave "excellent" grades to the students, who had been missing classes, and "unreasonably and intentionally decreased the grade of an A level student". At the same time, the results of the inspection performed following the order of the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities, showed that the student’s statements were ungrounded. The student’s complaint about the possible discrimination on the part of the teacher "due to her last name" did not find evidence.

    According to Irina Novikova’s comment at the Rector’s meeting, recently, the students, who are not satisfied with their grades, often try to use the ‘ethnicity factor’ as a way of putting pressure on the teachers accusing the latter of ethnicity-based discrimination, if the inflated expectations of high grades face the objective assessment of their work on the part of the teachers. In this regard, the dean of the School of International Relations supported the proposal to transition to the assessment system, when the teacher uses identification numbers (st-numbers in the case of St Petersburg University) during the assessment and in the examination lists instead of names.

    Taking into account the proposals and reports of the academic and research subdivisions at St Petersburg University based on meetings with the student councils, the issue of introducing encryption of students’ papers during interim assessment was additionally discussed.

    Marina Lavrikova, Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities, issued Order № 2286/1р dated 3 June 2022 "On encrypting students papers written during the summer interim assessment". Following this order, an experiment was designed suggesting that students’ papers be anonymised before being checked by teachers. The experiment was conducted in the course of the current assessment in the following disciplines:

    • degree programme "Organisation of Government Relations", area of study "Political Science", first year, second term, discipline "Lobbying as a Special GR Technique"
    • degree programme "Political Governance and Public Policy (in English)", area of study "Political Science", first year, second term, discipline "Macro and Microeconomics for Public Policy"
    • degree programme "Criminal Law", area of study "Law", discipline "Criminal and Legal Issues of Official Malfeasance" 

    After conducting the experiment and assessing the results, an analytical report on the impact of encryption (anonymity) on the objectivity of checking written assignments was assessed. The report will affect further administrative decisions.

    Maksim Kamenkov, Head of the Control and Revision Office, asked if and how the active work of students at workshops during the term will be assessed in case of encryption. Rector Nikolay Kropachev explained that such activity should be taken into account outside the examination. The possibility of accounting for such activity should be stated in the curriculum of the discipline. Svetlana Begeza added that currently, the encryption of written papers during the interim assessment is introduced as an experiment for two disciplines only. Iurii Fedotov, Senior Deputy Director of the Graduate School of Management, noted that encryption of all written papers in all academic disciplines for the students of management had been introduced over ten years ago. This measure has proved to be efficient and there have been no complaints about the subjective approach during the assessments. At the same time, all types of student activities are stated in the curricula of the academic disciplines.

    Results of the competition for the award of the Government of St Petersburg for prominent achievements in higher education and non-university level higher education

    As previously mentioned at the Rector’s meeting on 23 May, 2022, 11 applications to take part in the competition were submitted by the research and teaching staff to the Academic Council of St Petersburg University. All of them were approved at the Rector’s meeting on 28 February. Eight papers in four nominations were submitted to the Committee for Science and Higher Education. Elvira Zeletdinova, Vice-Rector for Teaching Methods, noted that only two applicants were awarded the prize.

    Two candidates from three other universities were selected in two nominations (Peter the Great St Petersburg Polytechnic University, Saint Petersburg State University of Aerospace Instrumentation, Saint Petersburg State Chemical Pharmaceutical University). The remaining 11 prizes were distributed among 11 universities.

    According to the competition statistics for five years, the result of no more than two prizes per university is most common. As a way of exception, Peter the Great St Petersburg Polytechnic University received three prizes in 2019 and four prizes in 2021. As a rule, three prizes are awarded in every nomination, however, it is impossible to determine the number of applications for every nomination in advance. There is no information on the number of applications from each university in open access.

    At the same time, a parallel competition for the prizes from the Government of St Petersburg for prominent achievements in science and technology offers twice as many nominations: 14-17 (as compared to 7 in education). Elvira Zeletdinova noted that two nominations for scientific achievements are aimed at young researchers. Traditionally, many researchers apply and win on the part of St Petersburg University.

    The competition offers no similar prizes in education. The competition winners in research are usually single authors, while in education — teams of authors. At the same time, the amount of the award per person and team is the same, which reduces the attractiveness of the competition in education. Moreover, according to some directors of academic and research subdivisions, people do not trust the way the competition is organised. Instead of a real competition, there are quotas for the number of winners.

    Nevertheless, an increased number of applications in the 2021/2022 academic year resulted in an increased number of winners. It is still relevant to prepare the documents for the competition in advance, which reduces the risk of denial due to the faults in the application itself. Significant achievements of research and teaching staff in any of the fields may and should be potentially considered for the competition application.

    Following the results of the discussion, the Rector of St Petersburg University gave a task to the Vice-Rector for Teaching Methods to analyse the situation with the failure to win the competition on the part of research and teaching staff at St Petersburg University in the competition for the prizes from the Government of St Petersburg University. He asked to focus on the cases, when the applications did not gain prizes in regional competitions, but won in the federal contests.

    St Petersburg University Professor Elena Kazakova received an award from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation

    Director of the Institute of Pedagogy at St Petersburg University and Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Education Elena Kazakova received an award from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation "For Contribution to the Establishment of a National Policy on Education".

    The medal is awarded to those who have made a great contribution to the national policy and statutory regulation in higher education and non-university level higher education.

    The participants of the Rector’s meeting congratulated Elena Kazakova on the well-deserved award.

    Appointing Andrei Bushev the judge of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation

    On 8 June, the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, on the nomination of the President of Russia, appointed Andrei Bushev, Associate Professor in the Department of Commercial Law, Head of the Department of Civil Law at St Petersburg University, the judge of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation.

    Andrei Bushev graduated from Leningrad State University in 1988 and has been teaching at the University since 1996. He specialises in the legal regulation of financial markets and the flow of securities. He defended his candidate’s dissertation related to this topic in 1997 in the Dissertation Council of St Petersburg University. Apart from special courses related to his specialisation, he gave lectures, conducted practical workshops, wrote study books on the commercial law of Russia and other countries.

    Andrei Bushev successfully combined teaching with practical activity providing legal support to large companies. An important part of his professional activity in the recent years has been his participation in the European Court of Human Rights. He was appointed the judge on the part of the Russian Federation to consider specific cases, with Yukos Oil Company (YUKOS) being the most famous one. Several times, he was also suggested as a candidate for the position of a permanent judge at the European Court of Human Rights on the part of Russia. Andrei Bushev speaks English and French, has studied and performed internships in several international universities, given lectures abroad, published research papers in international magazines.

    It has been the first appointment of a judge to the Constitutional Court in the last 12 years. The previous appointment took place in 2010. Then, despite the retirement of several judges due to age, the President did not suggest any candidates as new judges, while the amendments to the Constitution in 2020 provided for the reduction of the judges at the Constitutional Court from 19 to 11. With the appointment of Andrei Bushev, 6 out of 11 (or more than a half) appointed judges are graduates of Leningrad State University (currently St Petersburg University).

    Agreement between St Petersburg University and the Institute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Sciences on holding joint Olympiads in psychology

    In Moscow, St Petersburg University and the Institute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Sciences signed an agreement on holding Olympiads for school students in psychology. The agreement was signed by Dmitry Ushakov, Director of the Institute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Nikolay Kropachev, Rector of St Petersburg University (Olympiad in psychology for schoolchildren to appear at St Petersburg University).

    The parties plan to cooperate in organising and conducting the intellectual competition, and the Olympiad in Psychology for Schoolchildren is scheduled to start in the academic year 2022/23. The Institute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Sciences will participate in the methodological support of the Olympiad, as well as in the implementation of career counselling and research and educational activities for schoolchildren. The establishment of a new Olympiad together with the leading research centre of Russia in the field of psychology will be of great significance to St Petersburg University. During the meeting with the Director of the Institute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Nikolay Kropachev noted that identifying, supporting, and further assisting gifted schoolchildren is one of the key areas of the University work. Studying such an important field of science as psychology will help school students not only to learn more about themselves and those around them but will also be the first step in their professional development.

    Psychology will be the 20th field in which the School Olympiad of St Petersburg University is held. High school students can now test their knowledge in mathematics, physics, computer science, engineering systems, geography, medicine, biology, chemistry, technological entrepreneurship, philology, history, social studies, economics, law, sociology, modern management, journalism, foreign languages and separately the Chinese language. The School Olympiad of St Petersburg University is a unique educational project aimed at: developing creative abilities and interest in research activities; disseminating and popularising scientific knowledge; and supporting talented students in receiving high-quality professional education. Most subjects of the St Petersburg University School Olympiad are included in the list of school Olympiads approved by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation. Winners and runners-up can therefore claim special rights when entering the University — admission without entrance examinations or receiving 100 points in their major subject. Other aspects of cooperation between St Petersburg University and the Institute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Sciences were discussed at the Rector’s meeting, including the following: participation of psychologists in studying psychological support for normative work and the consequences of law enforcement; preparation of joint online courses; participation of historians and archive workers of St Petersburg University in the anniversary of the Institute of Psychology of Russian Academy of Sciences (help with publishing the book about the first director of the institute); and the expertise of the University research projects to name just a few. Directors and deans shall provide proposals on the possibility of cooperation between St Petersburg University and other institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences, taking into account the research and expert potential of the University and interdisciplinary project preparation.

    Regulations on the Student Council at the Faculty of Law approved

    As reported at the Rector’s meeting on 28 March 2022, Valery Falkov, Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, and the heads of higher education institutions discussed establishing student councils consisting of active students that take part in various student communities (scientific societies, sports clubs, pedagogical communities, construction teams and other student groups) in higher education institutions.

    According to Aleksandr Babich, Senior Vice-Rector for Youth Policy and Admissions, participants of the Rector’s meeting on 28 March noted that the proposal on changing the procedure of forming student councils had been voiced at St Petersburg University back in the autumn of 2021 by the members of the Student Council at the Faculty of Law. They suggested that the Student Council should include the representatives of student communities at the Faculty of Law, for example, the student scientific societies, apart from the representatives of every cohort.

    Taking into account this proposal, the Student Council of the Faculty of Law prepared a draft of a new version of the provision on the Student Council at the Faculty of Law. The draft was supported by the Academic Council of the Faculty of Law and directed to the Student Council of St Petersburg University for further consideration.

    In December 2021, the Student Council of the University considered the draft, made comments and returned it for further elaboration. The Student Council of the Faculty of Law presented a new version of the draft with comments. Upon another examination, the Student Council of St Petersburg University gave a negative response to the draft and sent it to the Vice-Rector for Legal Affairs. The Vice-Rector for Legal Affairs performed a legal review of the draft of the provision on the Student Council at the Faculty of Law and gave a positive conclusion.

    Taking into account that the draft was developed and presented by the Student Council of the Faculty of Law, approved by the Academic Council of the Faculty of Law and received a positive legal review from the Vice-Rector for Legal Affairs, it was decided to adopt this provision. The order on approving the provision on the Student Council at the Faculty of Law was published on 8 June 2022.

    In view of the importance of student communities’ participation in the issues of the University management and administrative decision making, Aleksandr Babich recommended that the members of the Student Councils of other academic and research subdivisions consider the issue of including the representatives of student communities in the student councils of these academic and research subdivisions.

    Following the results of the discussion, the directors of institutes and deans of faculties shall discuss the issue of including the representatives of student communities in the student councils and introducing relevant changes to the provision on student councils with the students (members of the student councils of the academic and research subdivisions, and group leaders).

    The meeting participants supported the proposal to include in the student councils those students who are directly involved in implementing useful initiatives. The participants also recalled the recent letter of the Student Council of St Petersburg University on providing for order in the University territory (Minutes of the Rector’s meeting dated 23 May 2022).

    Housing for early-career researchers

    In continuation of the discussion of issues of supporting early-career researchers (Minutes of the Rector’s meeting dated 28 March 2022 ), Vice-Rector for Research Sergey Mikushev said that the provision of state financial support to early-career researchers in terms of solving their housing problems is within the framework of the state programme ‘Providing affordable and comfortable housing and utilities to citizens of the Russian Federation’ through state housing certificates. Early-career researchers are to be understood those who are not older than 35 years old with a degree of Candidate of Sciences or not older than 40 years old with a degree of Doctor of Sciences. They have a right to receive a certificate if they need to improve their living conditions and have worked for more than five years in state research (educational) organisations under the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation.

    The leading universities of Russia, i.e. St Petersburg University, Lomonosov Moscow State University, and a number of research (educational) organisations, are not subordinate to the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation. As a result, this does not allow early-career researchers to apply for a housing certificate and improve their living conditions through this programme.

    St Petersburg University sent a corresponding appeal to the Government and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. According to the information received from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation and in accordance with the Order of the President of the Russian Federation dated 10 February 2022 (Pr-290, para 1g-1), proposals are being prepared to amend Decree № 1050 ‘On the implementation of certain measures of the state programme of the Russian Federation "Providing affordable and comfortable housing and utilities for citizens of the Russian Federation"’ of the Government of the Russian Federation dated 17 December 2010. Among these proposals are adjustments to the criterion of departmental affiliation of the organisation in which the early-career researchers work. The publication of such amendments will significantly expand the opportunities for St Petersburg University staff to improve their living conditions.

    St Petersburg University experts are included in the expert councils of the Higher Assessment Committee

    In May 2022, the term of office of the former expert councils of the Higher Assessment Committee of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation expired. The procedure for forming new expert councils was started in advance, i.e. from 1 November 2021 (Letter № MN-3 / 4829-AM of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education dated 29 October 2021). In connection with the adoption of a new nomenclature of scientific specialities (Order № 118 of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education dated 24 February 2021) for which academic degrees are awarded, and with a reduction in the number of scientific specialties aimed at developing interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research, the number of expert councils was reduced from 34 to 28 (Recommendation No 1-pl / 3 "On expert councils of the Higher Assessment Committee under the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation" of the Higher Assessment Committee of the Russian Federation dated 24 June 2021). The proposals from research, educational and other organisations could be submitted until 31 December 2021. St Petersburg University (in accordance with the current procedure for the formation of expert councils of the Higher Assessment Committee) recommended 61 experts to include in 17 councils.

    As Anastasia Yarmosh, Vice-Rector for Strategic Development and Partnership, said, on 11 May 2022, the publication of orders of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education on approving the composition of the expert councils of the Higher Assessment Committee was completed. As a result of the consideration of the recommended candidates, 42 members of St Petersburg University academic staff became members of 14 expert councils (List of candidates recommended by St Petersburg University and list of members of the expert councils).

    St Petersburg University received the largest representation in the councils of the Higher Assessment Committee on cognitive sciences (eight experts from St Petersburg University); pedagogy and psychology (5); law and political science (4); and mathematics and mechanics (4). Maxim Kireev, Vladislav Shchepelkov, and Elena Kazakova were appointed deputy chairpersons of the expert councils of the Higher Assessment Committee for cognitive sciences; law and political science; and pedagogy and psychology, respectively.

    The St Petersburg University Clinic offers free skin cancer screening

    Doctors from the Pirogov Clinic of High Medical Technologies at St Petersburg University will conduct free examinations and diagnostic tests using a dermatoscope to detect melanoma. This is the best way to diagnose melanoma and other skin cancers. If a disease is suspected, patients will be offered hospitalisation in the oncology department of the Pirogov Clinic of High Medical Technologies at St Petersburg University. There, patients will be able to receive free treatment according to the compulsory health insurance policy.

    A dermatologist will receive patients at the following address: 20/1 Korablestroitelei Street, the Pirogov Clinic of High Medical Technologies at St Petersburg University. An appointment can be made and agreed on a date and time by calling 8 (812) 676 25 25.

    International activities

    At the recent Rector’s meetings, the international activities of St Petersburg University were analysed (Minutes of Rector’s meetings dated 14 March 2022; 4 May 2022; 11 May 2022; 16 May 2022; 23 May 2022; 30 May 2022; and 6 June 2022). As reported by Acting Deputy Rector for International Activities Valeriia Malomuzh, a number of new events took place last week.

    Open lecture at the St Petersburg University Representative Office in Spain

    On 6 June 2022, the St Petersburg University Representative Office in Spain hosted an online lecture ‘Lyubov Mendeleeva, Alexander Blok, Andrey Bely: a true story and fables with "The Wife Clothed in the Sun"’. Alexander Blok was born at the University. He also spent his childhood and student years here. Later, he became engaged to Lyubov Mendeleeva. The lecture became a continuation of the series of conferences "The Story of One Love". The lecture was delivered by Anna Silyunas, Director of the St Petersburg University Representative Office in Spain, theatre critic, and art critic.

    The textbook "Japanese Economy" won the competition of the Book Publishers Association "Best Books of the Year — 2021"

    The textbook "Japanese Economy" was prepared and published at St Petersburg University under a grant from JTI, i.e. a long-time partner of St Petersburg University. The textbook won the Best Books of the Year − 2021. The competition is held by the Book Publishers Association. The nomination is the Best Educational Edition (for non-university level higher education institutions and higher education institutions).

    The textbook was prepared by an international team of researchers and academic staff at St Petersburg University and foreign researchers. It highlights the main features of the modern economy of Japan and its place in the world economy and international economic relations. The textbook covers the history of the formation of the social and economic systems of Japan; the legal system in its aspects such as investment law and public finance law; and the political system in terms of the country’s foreign economic policy. The current state of these systems is presented in the context of globalisation and regionalisation processes and the formation of a green economy. Particular attention is paid to promising areas of cooperation between Japan and Russia in the socio-economic and legal spheres.

    The textbook is written in accordance with the requirements of the state educational standard in the area of study of "Economics". The book is intended for students and postgraduate students in the areas of "Economics", "Law", "Sociology", "International Relations", "Management", and "Asian and African Studies". It will be of interest to university professors, researchers, and practitioners.

    Round table on countering Russian security challenges in Central Asia

    On 10 June 2022, St Petersburg University hosted a round table "Counteraction to Russian security challenges in Central Asia against the backdrop of the aggravation of the situation in Afghanistan, destructive factors in the South Caucasus and Eastern Europe". The event was organised in cooperation with the secretariat of the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly. The event was attended by both Russian and foreign experts.

    Open lecture by Uri Resnick, Consul General of Israel in St Petersburg

    On 10 June 2022, an open lecture was held by Uri Resnick, Consul General of Israel in St Petersburg, for students at St Petersburg University. The lecture focused on "Game theory Insights into Israel foreign policy". The lecture was held on the eve of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum 2022.

    Uri Resnick was born in 1970 in Ottawa (Canada) and immigrated to Israel in 1988. He received his PhD in International Relations from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is an associate member of the Federmann Centre for the Study of Rationality at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Uri Resnick joined the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2002. He served in diplomatic missions in Dakar, Sofia, and Los Angeles. He also worked in various departments of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem. In 2021, Uri Resnick assumed the position of Consul General of Israel in St Petersburg.

    Participation in the second Forum of Rectors of Russia and Kyrgyzstan

    St Petersburg University traditionally takes an active part in the forums of Russian rectors with foreign colleagues. The next forum was held in Yekaterinburg and was dedicated to strategic partnership and development of new projects between the universities of the two countries. At the forum, a report was made on the cooperation of the University with Kyrgyz partners. Proposals were made to expand the list of joint projects in the field of creating and developing online courses; network programmes; and seed funds to support research initiatives and mobility programmes.

    Approaches to interaction with the University’s counterparties that have decided to suspend cooperation with St Petersburg University

    In 2011, St Petersburg University became the first Russian university to become a member of the association of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Europe, i.e. the Coimbra Group. The Coimbra Group includes many influential classical universities with a rich history. Among them are Oxford, and Cambridge to name just a few (St Petersburg University accepted into the club of elite European universities).

    Recently, the University received information from the Coimbra Group that St Petersburg University’s membership in this association has been suspended. In a response letter, St Petersburg University gave a legal assessment of these illegal actions. Then Coimbra Group offered St Petersburg University to transfer its vote to another university from another country. St Petersburg University refused.

    The participants of the meeting recalled the cases when Western universities suspended cooperation under existing agreements with St Petersburg University. On behalf of the Rector, all facts of violation of the rights of University students and staff and the University as a whole are recorded and measures are taken in accordance with the law. In order to protect the rights of students and academic staff, claims were sent to the partners about their failure to fulfil their obligations, entailing a violation of the rights of the University and University students (Minutes of the Rector’s meeting dated 4 April 2022). There were significantly fewer cases of refusal to fulfil agreements.

    Events dedicated to the 350th anniversary of Peter the Great

    The year of the 350th anniversary of Peter the Great opened at St Petersburg University on 20 January 2022 with the exhibition "Peter’s University". The exposition presented publications of the Petrine era from the collection of the M Gorky Scientific Library. The exposition reflects the history of the academic university, i.e. the forerunner of modern St Petersburg University. It includes 65 books published in the printing houses of Amsterdam, Moscow, St Petersburg, and Chernigov from 1700 to 1725 (Presentation).

    On 18 April 2022, the first stage of the All-Russian competition of creative works of students in higher education programmes in the field of art "Peter the Great" was completed. It was held by St Petersburg University with the support of the Association of Leading Universities and the Council of Rectors of the universities of the Northwestern Federal District. One hundred eight works were received. Among the applications from students of Russian universities were the following: in the nomination "Graphics" − 45 works, "Painting" − 34, "Graphic Design" − 20, "Sculpture" − 7, "History of Art" − 2. There were also 13 works from students of schools and lyceums accepted. An expert jury of the competition was formed. It was chaired by Mikhail Piotrovsky, Director of the State Hermitage, Dean of the Faculty of Asian and African Studies at St Petersburg University. Students who successfully passed the distance round of the competition were invited to participate in the in-person round. It will be held in July 2022 in the format of an exhibition on the territory of St Petersburg University and the Russian Academy of Arts. The volume of the prize fund for the competition is 300,000 roubles. The winners in each nomination will receive 60,000 roubles.

    On 17 to 19 May 2022, the Institute of Russian History of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow hosted an international scientific conference "The Significance of Peter the Great’s Reforms in the Modern and Contemporary History of Russia". It was co-organised by St Petersburg University (St Petersburg University scholars take part in the conference "The Significance of Peter the Great’s Reforms in the Modern and Contemporary History of Russia"). The conference was attended (in-person and online) by more than 130 experts from research, cultural, and educational organisations in Russia, Austria, Bulgaria, Tunisia, and France. More than 100 reports were presented in five sections. The reports were also published in the proceedings of the conference. Professor Abdulla Daudov, Director of the Institute of History at St Petersburg University, delivered a welcoming speech to the participants of the conference. The following Professors in History spoke from the University: Andrei Ivanov, Aleksandr Kotov, Pavel Krotov, Yury Akimov; scientists-philosophers: Professor Tatiana Chumakova and Associate Professor Elena Ovchinnikova; and Elena Sonina, philologist, historian of journalism, Associate Professor.

    The second scientific conference of the jubilee year "Peter the Great and the Development of Science in Russia" is co-organised by St Petersburg University. It will be held on 3-5 October 2022 in St Petersburg. Abstracts are currently being accepted. More than 70 applications for participation have been received.

    On 20 May 2022, there was a presentation of the album prepared and published by the St Petersburg University Publishing House at the International Book Salon in St Petersburg (St Petersburg University presents an album about the first students of Petrovsky University at the International Book Salon).

    On 2 June 2022, the Diaghilev Museum of Contemporary Arts opened an exhibition "Peter and Petersburg". The exhibition presents the works by senior students of the B. Ioganson St Petersburg State Academy Art Lyceum at the Russian Academy of Arts. The exhibition will run until 13 June 2022.

    On 8 June 2022, on the eve of the anniversary date, St Petersburg University launched a new online course, "Peter the Great: Myths and Realities". It will help to study the significance of Peter the Great’s reforms for the development of the country and learn more about the personality of the founder of the Northern Capital.

    On 9 June 2022, the birthday of Peter the Great, the solemn opening of the exhibition "Peter the Great introduced science to us ..." took place. The exhibition project initiated by St Petersburg University is the result of the combined efforts of member organisations of the Assembly of Petrovsky Museums in Russia, including: the Peterhof State Museum-Reserve; the State Hermitage Museum; the Kunstkamera; and others. The exposition includes materials reflecting the origin and development of science and higher education in Russia. In May, the exhibition opened in the halls of the Presidential Library. Its expanded version been presented at St Petersburg University.

    On the same day, a solemn ceremony of planting the Oak of Peter the Great took place in the Botanical Garden at St Petersburg University. It is part of the Russian Museum’s project "The All-Russian Oak Forest of Emperor Peter the Great". The event was attended by Senior Vice-Rector Elena Chernova at St Petersburg and General Director of the Russian Museum Vladimir Gusev. The seedling was grown from the acorn of the memorial oak of the time of Peter the Great.

    Throughout the year, St Petersburg University hosts exhibitions, lectures, and excursions under the heading "Peter’s Colleges". Information is published on the website of St Petersburg University.

    The exhibition ‘Retrospective of graduation projects of the academic programme "Easel Painting"’ is opened

    The exhibition ‘Retrospective of graduation projects of the degree programme "Easel Painting"’ opened in the exhibition hall of the University. It presents the works of graduates of different years (from 2015 to 2021).

    In 2009, the academic programme "Easel Painting" appeared in the list of areas of study at St Petersburg University. Students receive the degree of an artist-painter. In their last year of study, they work on a graduation project (a painting).

    The exhibition contains the best paintings of the graduates of the programme. Traditionally, citizens of other countries come to the University to learn the profession of a painter. As a result, some of the works reflect the national and cultural characteristics of different countries. This year, the exhibition presents paintings by graduates from China, Uzbekistan, and Colombia.

    At the opening of the exhibition, among the guests were academic staff; graduates of 2022 and earlier years; and students. The exhibition will run until 30 June 2022. Working hours are 11 am to 6 pm.

    Collaboration between St Petersburg University and the Alexandrinsky Theatre

    At the end of last year, the management of the Alexandrinsky Theatre asked St Petersburg University (Rector of St Petersburg University Nikolay Kropachev is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Alexandrinsky Theatre) for assistance in supporting their initiative. i.e. the development of national cultural traditions in the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, including the formation of a new personnel competence. As Anastasia Yarmosh, Vice-Rector for Strategic Development and Partnership, said, there is a significant shortage of personnel in the creative industry in this area. There are not enough managers of the new generation. On behalf of the Rector, in a short period (from February to April), St Petersburg University and the Alexandrinsky Theatre developed a new academic programme that has no rivals in Russia. It bridges leading business competencies with professional theatrical competencies. The pilot of this project will be presented in September 2022 in nine regions of Russia where theatres in national languages operate.

    The University offered to develop cooperation with the Alexandrinsky Theatre in various areas. An agreement between St Petersburg University and the Alexandrinsky Theatre will be signed at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. The University will provide significant support to the regions in the development of the creative industry.

    The participants of the meeting discussed the possibilities of cooperation between the University and the Alexandrinsky Theatre with the regions in various areas. Among them are: information support for the theatre’s activities (including, for example, translation of website content into Chinese); cooperation with theatres from different countries operating in Russian (including in Donetsk and Lugansk); digital technologies in theatrical, museum, library spheres; and other interdisciplinary projects.